BA Classical Literature and Civilisation

This innovative degree is for those fascinated by ancient cultures. You will embrace the diversity of Greek and Roman culture, drawing together literature, drama, myth, religion, history, philosophy and art.

You will work with the plays, poems, and speeches that have come down to us from antiquity, and study the monument, religion and mythology that make up classical civilisation. 

You will have the chance to travel to Greece or Italy and conduct your own research in places such as Pompeii, Athens or Delphi. You may choose to learn Latin or Greek, or continue your study of either language from AS or A Level onwards, or you may wish to focus your studies entirely on literature and sources in English translations. 


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“There is always something exciting going on at the university, and your department. Being a leader in research and innovation, we get access to the most amazing sources and materials. The opportunities that are available to students are incredible, and the support from staff is second to none. Take advantage of all the opportunities available to you, in studies and out of studies! ”

The programme is taught in the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology where you will have the opportunity to explore not only the classical civilisations of Greece and Rome, but also the cultures of Egypt and Ancient Western Asia, as well as the Byzantine Empire. 

You will learn in a variety of different contexts, such as lectures, seminars, interactive workshops, independent research and field trips. In your second year, with financial support from the University, you will have the opportunity to take up a unique two-week Study Tour where you will develop a research project and travel with fellow students to countries such as Italy and Greece to visit sites, monuments and museums of interest to you. Get an insight into the Study Tour module by reading the blog created by several students who travelled to Italy for two weeks in April this year. 

You will be supported by outstanding library resources, and have access to departmental facilities including a small study library and the Classics museum. 

Why study this course

  • Excellent employability - 90% of our Classical Literature and Civilisation graduates enter work, or full time study, within six months of graduation (DLHE 2015).
  • Excellent student experience - our students gave the course a 100% overall satisfaction rating in the National Student Survey 2016.
  • Taught by experts – you will study alongside some of the finest minds within the field. The Classics Department was ranked in the Top 5 Russell Group departments in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
  • Study tour – Our unique two-week Study Tour gives you the opportunity to plan and undertake travel to countries such as Italy and Greece to visit sites, monuments and museums. Take a look at our student-led Study Tour blog 
  • Be part of an exciting department – The Department provides a diverse range of opportunities to enrich your student experience. For example, students have been involved in the Classics in the Community Project, working with teachers on developing new ways of telling ancient stories.


The modules listed on the website for this programme may occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

First year

You will study the literature and history of the Graeco-Roman world, and choose from options to study Greek or Latin language, or the cultures of Egypt and Ancient Western Asia or Byzantium.  You may also choose to take modules in Archaeology and you will study a Widening Horizons module from outside the Department.

Compulsory modules:

  • Introduction to Greek and Roman History (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Greek Literature (10)
  • Introduction to Roman Literature (10)
  • Group Research (Classical) (10)
  • Project A (10)
  • Widening Horizons module (20)

Example optional modules:

  • Barbarians and the Transformation of the Roman World (10)
  • Byzantium and the Transformation of the Roman World (20)
  • Early Civilisations: Egypt (20)
  • Early Civilisations of Western Asia (10)
  • Greek Art and Archaeology (10)
  • Roman Art and Archaeology (10)
  • Latin/Greek/Egyptian Language at appropriate level (20) (a further 20 credits normally taken in Semester 2)
  • Introduction to Greek Language (20 + 20)
  • Introduction to Latin Language (20 + 20)
  • Intermediate Greek Language (20 + 20)
  • Intermediate Latin Language (20 + 20)

Year 1 module descriptions

Second year

Our core modules take you to the heart of the cultures of Athens and Rome. In Rome, you will be immersed in the age of Cicero and the dying days of the Roman republic, studying authors such as Catullus, Sallust and Lucretius as well as the many and varied works of Cicero himself. In Athens, the tragedies and comedies of the great Greek dramatists will bring to life the soul of Athens’ participatory democracy. You will also be able to choose from our unique range of options in literature, culture, language, myth, religion, art, philosophy, archaeology and history. A special feature of the second year is the study tour to Greece, Italy, Turkey or somewhere else in Europe or North Africa in the Easter vacation. The trip is subsidised by the University.

Compulsory modules:

  • Athenian Drama (20)
  • CAHA Study Tour (20)
  • Seminar II (choice of seminar topics) (20)
  • The Age of Cicero (20)

 Year 2 compulsory module descriptions

Example optional modules:

  • Artefacts and Material Culture (20)
  • Catastrophes! Humans and Environments (20)
  • Cities and Monuments of the Ancient and Medieval Mediterranean (20)
  • Classical Epic (20)
  • From Mummification to Burial (20)
  • Greece and Rome in Television and Film (20)
  • Imperial Egypt (Dynasties 18-20) (20)
  • Imperial Rome (20)
  • Mediterranean and European Archaeology (20)
  • Professional Skills Development (20)
  • Roman Britain and Roman Army (20)
  • Thinking Athenian (20)
  • Women, Men and Eunuchs: Gender in Byzantium (20 + 20)
  • Latin/Greek/Egyptian Language at appropriate level (20) (a further 20 credits normally taken in Semester 2)
  • Latin Prose Texts (20)
  • Greek Prose Texts (20)
  • Introduction to Greek Language (20 + 20)
  • Introduction to Latin Language (20 + 20) 
  • Intermediate Greek Language (20 + 20)
  • Intermediate Latin Language (20 + 20)
  • Nationalism and Conflict in the Balkans and Middle East

Year 2 optional modules 

Year abroad

You can apply to study abroad for a year in an approved university around the world. If you achieve a grade of 2.1 or above in your first year then you will be invited to apply for a Year Abroad in your second year. If your application is successful, you will go abroad in your third year and return to us for your final year. Find out more.

Final year

The highlight of the final year is your dissertation: a substantial research project, developed in collaboration with your supervisor, on a subject of special interest to you. In addition to this, you make free choices from our unique range of options. If you studied a language, you have now gained expertise in this, and are able to read and translate a wide repertoire of texts.

Compulsory modules:

  • CAHA Dissertation
  • Seminar III (choice of seminar topics) (20)

Year 3 compulsory module descriptions

Example optional modules:

  • Age of Empires (20)
  • Court Ritual (20)
  • Death, Burial and Society (20)
  • Egyptian Mysteries in Greece and Rome (20)
  • Egypt in the first millennium BC (20)
  • Greek Mythology (20)
  • Greek Verse Texts (20)
  • History and Archaeology of Western Asia 1500-500 BC (20)
  • Late Antiquity (20)
  • Latin, Greek or Egyptian Language at appropriate level (20) (a further 20 credits normally taken in Semester 2)
  • Latin Verse Texts (20)
  • Palace Societies (20)
  • Smash the Past: Breakage, Violence and Transformation (20)
  • Sparta (20)
  • The Age of Nero (20)

Year 3 optional modules 

Fees and funding

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2017, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Fees for 2017/18 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £9,250
  • Overseas: £15,570

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on undergraduate fees and funding.

Tuition fees when studying abroad

For those spending a whole academic year abroad (where available):

  • Students who are classed as home/EU for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee
  • Students who are classed as overseas for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee

For those studying abroad for just one semester (where available), normal annual tuition fees apply.

Note - Study abroad opportunities vary between courses; please see the course description for details of study abroad options offered.

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
General Studies:

Additional information:

BTEC Extended Diploma, Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma are all considered on a case by case basis - contact us for further guidance.

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.

International students:

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,5,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.

We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

How to apply

Joint Honours combinations

You can study Classical Literature and Civilisation as part of a Joint Honours degree with the following subjects:

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

University of Birmingham students are part of an academic elite and learn from world-leading experts. We will challenge you to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers.

You will have a diverse learning experience, including:

  • lectures
  • small group tutorials
  • independent study
  • and peer group learning, such as delivering presentations with your classmates


You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to Higher Education.

  • Personal tutors - You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
  • Welfare tutors - We have dedicated welfare tutors who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.
  • Academic Skills Centre - The centre aims to help you become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.
  • Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) - the AWAS team will provide guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level. You will receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, tutorials and email correspondence.
  • Student experience - Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.

During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into university. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.

Teaching staff

Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.

You can find out more about the members of staff (including their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest) in their academic profiles linked below.

Contact hours

In your first year, you can expect to have 9- 12 contact hours, depending on your module choices. These will consist of a mixture of lectures and small-group teaching. You will also undergo a formal transition review to see how you are getting on.

In your second year, you can expect to have 8-12 contact hours, depending on your module choices. These will consist of a mixture of lectures, small-group teaching, and supervision.

In your third year, you can expect to have 8.5-9.5 contact hours, depending on your module choices. As before, these will consist of a mixture of lectures, small-group teaching, and supervision. There are also many additional activities that are also available to students.

Assessment methods

Assessments - you will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include:

  • coursework, such as essays
  • group and individual presentations
  • and formal exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so you can learn from each assignment. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take. If you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is provided to help you prepare for future exams.

Our unique degrees are designed to provide both academic excellence and vocational development – a balance that is highly sought after by employers in today’s competitive graduate market.

Studying Classics involves analysing the ancient world in a political, social, and cultural context. This helps the development of skills in research and analysis of complex information, working independently and as part of a team, and articulate communication of judgments and arguments. You will also have the opportunity to carry out self- directed project work which helps self-management, organisation and research skills. The study of Latin and Greek develops analytical and verbal reasoning skills, as well as discipline and application, and it supports the use of a rich and varied vocabulary.

The University of Birmingham is University of the Year for Graduate Employment in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016. Graduates in Classical Literature and Civilisation have excellent employment prospects with 90% of graduates entering work, or full-time study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2015).

You will be in high demand and well placed to forge a rewarding career in a variety of areas, including:

  • Law
  • Education
  • Media
  • Publishing
  • Local government
  • Museums and charities
  • Cultural and heritage organisations

Therefore studying Classical Literature and Civilisation at the University of Birmingham opens doors to a wide range of careers. Some graduates will go onto undertake further study and research in purist of higher degrees. 

Developing your career

Employers target University of Birmingham students for their diverse skill-set and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of our wide range of opportunities you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

  • Careers events - we hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, marketing and working with charities to help you meet potential employers and learn more about these sectors.
  • Global Challenge - you can apply to work overseas on an expenses-paid placement during your summer vacation through our Global Challenge initiative.
  • Work experience bursary - we encourage you to apply your skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer. Our work experience bursaries allow you to apply for funding to support you during unpaid internships.
  • Cultural Internships - our innovative Cultural Internships offer graduates the opportunity for a six month paid internship at a leading cultural institution in the West Midlands. These internships will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market. Our current partners include Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham REP, Birmingham Royal Ballet, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, Library of Birmingham.

There are also internships available at our own cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you will need to think about engaging in some extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and network of contacts.

  • Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme - our College of Arts and Law Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme enables interested students to work on a current academic research project being run by one of our academic researchers. Undergraduate research scholars gain work experience over the summer after their first or second year and have the chance to develop skills in both collaborative and independent research.
  • Personal Skills Award - our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
  • Guild of Students - there is a vast number of student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students, which cover a wide variety of interests.

Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Clubs and societies

The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.

Student Experience Officers

Our Student Experience Officers will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.


Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.

Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.

International students

The University of Birmingham has been welcoming international students onto our campus since 1900.

We have one of the largest and most vibrant international student communities in the UK, with 5,000 international students from more than 150 different countries and 31% of our academic staff from overseas.

If you would like further information about entry requirements, how to apply and funding options, then you can visit our international students webpage. You may also wish to take a virtual tour of our campus and watch the video below to hear our international students say their favourite thing about the University of Birmingham.